The Women's Association 100th Anniversary

Tenrikyo Pearl Church Monthly Service – 2009 March Service

Good morning.  I would like to thank all of you for being here to attend the March Monthly Service here at Pearl Church and thank you for your kind and sincere offerings. I am sure God the Parent and Oyasama is really happy to see you all here today and to have performed the service with joy and in high spirits!

      Last month, Mrs. Misue Nakao, wife of the head minister of our upper church, Tengen Branch Church was supposed to give a talk on the Women’s Association 100th Anniversary in 2010.  Due to a foot injury she was not able to come to Hawaii and we were hoping that she would come this month, but due to her busy schedule she was not able to come.  However we were able to obtain her speech which we will be delivering today.

The Women’s Association 100th Anniversary (in 2010)

I would like to extend my regrets for not being able to come to Hawaii.  This time, looking toward the 100th Anniversary of the Women’s Association since its founding, I am visiting all the churches and missions under Tengen all over Japan. In Japan, I was able to meet many members for the first time. Due to the special occasion of the 100th Anniversary, I would like to speak to you today through Rev. and Mrs. Owen Nakao since I am unable to come to Hawaii.

On March 25, 1898, the followers received a divine direction from the Honseki, Rev. Izo Iburi.  This was when a woman named Ito Masuno, asked the Honseki for a divine direction.  Then these words followed: 

“…begin the Women’s Association now. This is not begun by the thoughts of human beings. It is God who has you begin it…”     Osashizu, March 25, 1898

The people were astonished and confused because the words were not in direct answer to the question.  It took time for the followers to understand the deep parental intent in those words.

The Women’s Association is not an ordinary organization such as a neighborhood board or a gathering of people for socializing.  It is the nature and the role of women to make connections with people as the foundation of the family and the church. We must also practice the Divine Model of Oyasama and convey the teachings to the children at home and people at church. In order to convey the teachings as a senior of the Path, the Women’s Association is the place where we discuss how we can settle the problem and study the doctrine.  This is what the Women’s Association is.

      Back in 1898 in Japan, the social standing of women was very low.  The women stayed at home and took charge of child rearing.  It was inconceivable for women to go out and work.  That is why it was very difficult to practice the teachings obediently.  Due to the severe oppression of Tenrikyo by the government it was difficult to act according to the Parental desire.  In such difficult circumstances, the Women’s Association overcame the obstacles and in January 28, 1910 the Women’s Association was finally established. Due to the hard work of predecessors in those days, who were somehow able to convey the teachings of the Path and practice the Divine Model of Oyasama, we are now anticipating the 100th Anniversary.  We will be commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Women’s Association with a General Meeting on April 19, 2010 at 10am.  The day prior, the 18th, is Oyasama’s Birthday Celebration Service and that afternoon at 3pm, there is a Young Women’s Club gathering.  At night we have a big food bazaar featuring many different kinds of foods.  Tengen also wants to open a food booth.  Preceding this, the Women’s Association will be holding rallies at locations throughout the world this year. For Hawaii it is on May 30th at Mission Headquarters (from 9:30am).  On Maui it’s on the same day in the evening and on the Big Island it’s on the next day (May 31 at 10am).  I would like to ask that each and every one of you to attend one of the rallies, with no one left behind.

      I have passed out the Women’s Association stickers, which says, “Daily gratitude from the heart.” The President of the Women’s Association Church Headquarters, Mrs. Harue Nakayama, said,

      “We would like to express our gratitude for having been kept alive and healthy and we would like to show our appreciation for the overflowing blessings we received from God the Parent and Oyasama by making small donations.  By cutting down on our unnecessary expenses and being thrifty, we can use the difference to make offerings to God.  Up until now, the church headquarters was emphasizing big offerings to meet our construction goals.  We would now like to take a different approach to offerings.  It is to make offerings with a mind of gratitude.  It’s not the amount of offering that is important but the sincerity of our gratitude. If we think that we shouldn’t make an offering because we complain, then we should think about why we should be grateful.  During the Women’s Association General Meeting last year, the Shinbashira, said in his address:  “The blessing is not necessarily something that you wish for, but rather it is seeing or experiencing the results from putting the teachings into practice in our daily life.  By seeing the results, whether we feel that our request is granted or not, is the best blessing we can receive according to Oyasama’s intention.”

      The fact that we cannot be happy means that we cannot accept Oyasama’s parental heart and we are basically throwing away the blessing.  The Shinbashira continued. “The Joyous Life, according to God the Parent’s intention is how we can accept the current situation, adjust our use of mind and overcome our problems with a joyous mind.  It’s how we can interpret the situation and accept it joyously.

      In our everyday life, we should wake up every morning with a pleasant feeling with the warm sun, refreshing wind blowing, a delicious breakfast with the family, a lot of laughter, friends and busy workplace surrounded by lively voices and at dusk, seeing the sun set, taking a comfortable bath, watching TV, having a snack and going to sleep.  This is just an ordinary single page of a day of your life.  You might take this as ordinary and take it for granted, but I want all of you to remember how blessed this life is.  For most of us it probably doesn’t cross our mind so we tend to complain about the day, about the bad things that happened and make the day gloomy.

      Mrs. Nakayama, the president of the Women’s Association and the Shinbashira said with a deep parental heart, that we should maintain a mind of gratitude and construct the Joyous Life.  It sounds like they both have the same meaning, but with these two words through the Shinbashira and Mrs. Nakayama, we can feel their deep parental heart that urges us to construct our minds such that we can live the Joyous Life.  To be grateful for even the smallest of things, and also what the Shinbashira and Mrs. Nakayama wants us to realize is that we are embraced in the bosom of God the Parent and blessed by Oyasama.  No matter what happens, expressing a mind of gratitude is the most important of things.  In the words that we use everyday, such as grace at meal time and “thank you”, we give thanks for the providence of God, such as fire for sunlight, water for rain, and wind for breeze, which enables life such as vegetables to be produced, prepared and consumed.  We show our appreciation to those who have labored to produce the fruits and vegetables.

      We are taught that our bodies are borrowed from God.  How we use our minds makes a big difference in our lives.  God is blessing us day and night and we cannot forget that God is working for us night and day. (We tend to think that we are breathing on our own, but when we are sleeping at night, we are still breathing and our heart is beating.)  This is also God’s blessing.  The mind of gratitude is always grateful and joyous in any situation.  This will reflect on the people around us and influence them in positive ways.

      In the guidelines for the Women’s Association activities, a new guideline was added:

                  “Let’s nurture our own faith based on the teachings.”

Nowadays, we can freely read the Ofudesaki and perform the Service without any interference from government authorities.  Those who want to study the Doctrine can do so freely without any worry.  We have freedom of religion.

      However, when we think about the days when Tenrikyo was persecuted, the followers had performed the service even at the risk of their lives.  I wonder if our faith and conviction, is still strong as theirs.

      I was born into a Tenrikyo family so I just took for granted the way we lived.  I woke up early in the morning and attended the morning service even in the cold winter.  It was our daily routine.  But now I can feel grateful for being raised in a Tenrikyo family and grateful for the daily blessings.

      In our guidelines, it says: “Let’s nurture our own faith”. It is not only asking for God’s favors when we have a problem, but rather it is nurturing our faith based on the teachings.

      Whatever we are experiencing in our daily life, what we are hearing and feeling, we should always react according to Oyasama’s Divine Model.  And little by little, we can nurture our mind and mature spiritually.  In order to mature in this faith, we should always go back to the teachings and reflect on our daily actions.

      In addition, we should put our wholehearted mind into the service and engage in spreading the teachings and help others.  And implement our slogan which is: “Let’s have each member bring one friend to attend Besseki lecture in Jiba.”

      In looking toward the 100th Anniversary of the Women’s Association Convention, let us practice the three guidelines in our daily life and become persons that will make God the Parent and Oyasama happy.

Announcements

  1. Thank you to everyone who came and helped at the all TCC cleanup Hinokishin on President’s Day, February 16th.
  2. This Sunday is Mission HQ monthly service from 9am and the following Monday is Nioigake Day from 9am.
  3. The BGA will be conducting their annual Spring Camp and General Meeting on March 21-23 with the GM being held on March 22, Sunday at 10 am the MHQ.  We need a lot of hinokishin help and I hope that all of you can contribute in one way or another.
  4. Lucas will be leaving us later this month.  He will be entering the Japanese Language Course at Tenri Language Institute in Jiba.
  5. Our yard work fundraiser is still going on so if you know of anyone needing yard work, please let us know.
  6. The Hawaii Young Men’s Association is planning to join the International Hinokishin Corps scheduled for this summer on July 17-24th.  For those wishing to plant seeds of sincerity at Jiba, please contact Moses for more information.

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